Bump in corn grown for ethanol has polluted water and wiped out 5 million acres of conserved land, AP finds
Five million acres of land — more than in Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite national parks combined — have been pulled from conservation on Obama’s watch, according to Agriculture Department figures.
What’s more, from 2005 to 2010, corn farmers increased their use of nitrogen fertilizer by more than 1 billion pounds. More recent data isn’t available from the Agriculture Department, but because of the huge increase in corn planting, even conservative projections by the AP suggest another billion-pound fertilizer increase on corn farms since then.
Some of that fertilizer has seeped into drinking water, contaminating rivers and boosting the growth of enormous algae fields in the Gulf of Mexico; the algae eventually decompose, sucking oxygen from the water and leaving behind a huge dead zone, currently covering 5,800 square miles of sea floor where marine life can’t survive.
That dead zone is just one example of a peculiar ethanol side effect: As one government program encourages farmers to plant more corn, other programs pay millions to clean up the mess.
Amid the conflict with ISIS, the bottom line is a reliable supply to the Middle East’s liquid gold.
Thirteen years after the attacks of September 11, and with much said and written about ISIS and the gruesome beheading of James Foley, America continues to misunderstand the roots of Islamic terrorism. We also fail to acknowledge that as long as we remain addicted to cheap oil we will be locked in a war in the Middle East.
You won’t hear Middle East oil mentioned on the cable news airwaves. You will hear “clash of civilizations,”” religiously motivated terrorism,” and any number of similar phrases that are meant to distract and divert us from facing the central dispute between us and the Muslim world: we are addicted to the oil beneath their feet, and we intend to dominate the land they stand on.
The Muslim world isn’t as ignorant as Christian crusaders, the military industrial complex and the vast know-nothing right wing would have you believe. After all, what uncivilized, stupid people could produce algebra, geometry and our concept of the rule of law? The Muslim world is smart enough to figure out that America has invested all of the past 70 years into dominating control of Middle East oil supplies. We have propped despotic regimes and brutal dictators, overthrown democratically elected governments and waged three wars in two decades on Muslim soil. All while we fund and are complicit in Israel’s illegal occupation and theft of Palestinian land.
ISIS is the product of our own imagination and self-serving meddling. After we removed Saddam and his Sunni quasi-government, ISIS was the response by those Sunnis blocked from enjoying economic participation in Iraq.
It’s time to face reality and the monster in the mirror: we are not trying to end global terror, nor are we trying to promote Western secular democracy in the Middle East. Our motivations and desires are no secret. We do everything to ensure that we, and our allies, particularly Japan, have a reliable supply to the region’s liquid gold.
With a total of 44 U.S. military bases in the Middle East and the Central Asia, we have the Muslim world completely surrounded. From Turkey to Saudi Arabia, from Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan, our bases serve as a constant reminder to Muslims that we control their economic future and we are here to stay. And with an economic future that looks bleak for Muslims, the embers for Muslim rage are stoked.
“Terrorism is not a supply-limited phenomenon where there are just a few hundred around the world willing to do it because they are religious fanatics. It is a demand-driven phenomenon. That is, it is driven by the presence of foreign forces on the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. The operation in Iraq has stimulated suicide terrorism and has given suicide terrorism a new lease of life,” writes Robert Pape in Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism.
The U.S. State Department has announced that Westerners, mostly British Muslims, are being drawn to ISIS. Media outlets everywhere ask why. The answer is clear. The UK has the greatest concentration of Muslims among Western democracies. Muslims were pulled from former British colonies during the 1940s to provide cheap labor for the reconstruction of Britain in the aftermath of the second world war. The textile and steel mills in the north of England were filled with Muslim migrants from Asia and Africa.
Industrial collapse turned these mills into dust heaps, and today Muslim urban ghettos in the UK now resemble the socio-economic conditions of predominately black urban ghettos in America. For British Muslims, high unemployment is the norm, as is racial discrimination and anti-immigrant violence. For many, economic and social oppression at home looks a whole lot like the social and economic oppression that is occurring in Muslim countries abroad. The collapse of liberal democracies in the face of unfettered capitalism has failed minorities everywhere in the West.
Socio-economic insecurity is at the heart of all self-proclaimed religiously motivated extremism. Where social justice prevails, and the state meets the economic needs of its people, hyper-religious ideologies lack appeal.
French political scholar Oliver Roy argues, “This notion of a globalized Islam is not the product of any specific ‘Islamist’ organization but a broad sociological trend that has developed across Europe as a result of racism, migration, and globalization.” In Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Iraq, Muslims have been oppressed and had war waged upon them. “In principle—all the struggles for Muslims around the world were to be regarded as equally important” in this global ummah, Roy writes. This is why we now find Western Muslims in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
In returning to the Middle East, and its oil, our posture and actions promise to become even more aggressive, as oil reserves inevitably diminish. In an in-depth look into Saudi oil production over the past 40 years, Matthew R. Simmons warns in his book Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy that Saudi oil production is a far cry from the boastful claims long made by the kingdom regarding the robustness of its oilfields. According to Simmons, Saudi oil production peaked at 10 million barrels a day in 1981. Today it is 8 to 9 million barrels and falling. No super giant oil fields have been found in the region since the 1950s.
The very reason U.S. military bases, which are the size of small cities, exist in Saudi Arabia is to ensure our access to this diminishing supply. The oppressive Saudi regime wants us there to ensure neighboring countries don’t eye their oil. The central and founding charter of Al Qaeda was to remove our bases from the Holy Land. It was no coincidence that 17 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudis.
“We can have peace when we shut down our bases, stay the hand of the Israelis to create a Palestinian state, and go home, or we can have long, costly, and ultimately futile regional war. We cannot have both,” warns Chris Hedges. With our addiction to Middle East oil supplies, we can expect the latter, which means 2001 was the start of our endless war with the Muslim world.
The architectural project titled “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet”, designed by Biber Architects as the U.S.’ contribution to the Expo Milano 2015, a worldwide non-commercial exposition spanning 184 days and wholly dedicated to the theme of sustainability and responsible resource management. “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”
If you build a city that is great for an eight-year-old and for an 80-year-old, then you build a city that is going to be great for everybody. They’re like an indicator species. We need to stop building cities as if everybody in them is 30 years old and athletic.